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RESOURCES

Learn more about Breast Imaging and Breast MRI and affiliating information using Wake Radiology’s resources and online forms.

Breast Imaging Procedures

Wake Radiology provides a full range of comprehensive breast exams in Raleigh, Cary, Chapel Hill and the surrounding Triangle area. Our breast imaging radiologists and technologists understand the importance that dedication, compassion and expertise play in building a cohesive and effective approach to the diagnosis of breast cancer.

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We are devoted to maintaining excellence across a comprehensive set of breast imaging methods, following best practices and going above and beyond what any other local provider does. Wake Radiology is focused on providing the most specific answers possible to women and their referring providers.

Comprehensive breast exams

The unique breadth and depth of Wake Radiology’s breast imaging expertise allows us to offer a full spectrum of breast imaging services, from 3D screening and diagnostic mammography, breast ultrasound and Breast MRI to three types of image-guided breast biopsy. All breast images are taken by certified technologists and interpreted by board-certified radiologists. In fact, Wake Radiology has established a team of physicians who have expertise in mammography.

Select from the Breast Imaging studies and screenings available:

Screening Mammography - 3D in All Locations!

3D Mammography is the biggest breakthrough in breast imaging in 25 years. 3D technology allows our breast imaging radiologist to view breast tissue more clearly, increasing our chance of catching cancers even smaller than before. 

Due to our efficient workflow processes, a screening 3D mammogram takes less than 30 minutes from check-in to exam completion. And, to make this important screening more convenient many of our offices are open on evenings and Saturdays, same-day appointments are available and walk-ins are welcome at many locations. While patients must have seen a primary care doctor in the past 18 months, a signed physician referral is not required for this annual exam.

Tomosynthesis - 3D Mammography

3D mammography is performed in conjunction with a traditional 2D digital mammogram to create a more complete picture of breast tissue. During the 3D part of the exam, the X-ray arm sweeps in a slight arc over the breast, taking multiple images. A computer then uses these images to produce a layered 3D image of the breast tissue. This provides greater detail and allows the radiologist to see “inside” the breast layer by layer to find cancers earlier than ever. 

Greater accuracy for earlier and easier detection

With conventional mammography, the radiologist views the breast tissue in a flat image. Sometimes breast tissue appears overlapped, making it difficult to see all the individual structures and making normal breast tissue look abnormal. 3D mammography virtually eliminates these challenges and allows the radiologist to better see the different structures as well as the location, size, and shape of any abnormal tissue, such as smaller, more invasive cancers. 3D mammography has been shown to improve breast cancer detection by 27%-50%.

Fewer call-backs

In the past, if the radiologist saw an area that was questionable, the patient would be asked to return for additional imaging. Now, when the breast tissue can be seen in smaller, thinner sections, the “second look” is frequently unnecessary. 3D mammography has been shown to lower recall rates by 17%-40%.

Wake Radiology breast imaging radiologists believe that all patients will benefit from this revolutionary technology regardless of breast density, family history or personal history of breast cancer. Click here to learn more about 3D mammography.

Diagnostic Mammography

Diagnostic mammography studies at Wake Radiology are always directed by a radiologist who is onsite. The technologist is, therefore, able to review all images with the radiologist to ensure that the appropriate number and type of additional views are taken during the appointment. This approach improves the quality of the interpretation – and subsequent outcomes – as well as decreases the number of duplicate exams. Our approach also allows our radiologists to consult personally with patients and review their results before they leave the office.

Comparison Sets for Informed Interpretations

Wake Radiology strives to access and leverage the greatest amount of related clinical information we can when we perform diagnostic mammograms. Screening and diagnostic mammograms are compared to multiple previous years to ensure the fewest possible false positives and false negatives, which decrease the rate of unnecessary recalls and improve detection. While some radiology providers stop at two years of comparison, Wake Radiology goes as far back as possible for an average of 5-7 years, which is very important in evaluating a patient’s current exam for a change that could signal subtle cancer. Dedicated staff members handle this labor-intensive prior exam retrieval process so that the prior imaging and information is readily available to our breast imaging radiologists when needed.

Hands-on Approach

Wake Radiology understands how anxious patients are when they are waiting for results — especially those who are considered at high risk of developing breast cancer. When patients return for their diagnostic mammogram evaluation, they meet with our physicians who take the time to review results and images with them so they know the thought process behind their diagnosis. We also discuss possible next clinical management steps so they are more informed about how their referring physician may manage their breast diagnosis. Our hands-on approach diminishes patient anxiety associated with continued uncertainty.

Breast Ultrasound

Wake Radiology understands that a breast ultrasound can add important information to the results of other tests such as a mammogram or Breast MRI to correlate findings.

A breast ultrasound uses sound waves to make a picture of the breast including the area closest to the chest wall, which is hard to study with a mammogram. Breast ultrasound does not use X-rays or other potentially harmful types of radiation, does not replace the need for a mammogram, and is often used to check abnormal results from a mammogram.

A breast ultrasound may be done to find the cause of breast symptoms, such as pain, swelling, and redness or check a lump found during breast self-examination or physical examination. It is used to see whether a breast lump is fluid-filled (a cyst) or if it is a solid lump. A lump that has no fluid or that has fluid with floating particles may need more tests. At Wake Radiology, breast ultrasounds are performed by technologists certified in ultrasonography and interpreted by board-certified radiologists, many of who are dedicated to breast imaging.

Breast biopsy (stereotactic, ultrasound-guided and MRI-guided)

If a biopsy is indicated, Wake Radiology will identify the best modality for guiding the biopsy based on the nature and location of the abnormality. Wake Radiology offers three types of image-guided breast biopsy procedures: stereotactic, ultrasound and MRI. We also discuss the initial findings and the specific recommended biopsy procedure with each patient.  Patients may have the procedure performed at our facility or may opt for a surgical referral via the referring physician. In many cases, we are able to offer the patient a same-day procedure, especially for ultrasound-guided biopsy.

While a biopsy appointment typically takes 45-60 minutes, the procedure itself takes only 15-20 minutes. After the procedure, patients can resume normal activity (except for lifting) and exercise within a few days. Wake Radiology schedules the patient to return to our facility two days after the procedure to personally review positive pathology results and appropriate follow-up. We understand the anxiety associated with a breast cancer diagnosis so our approach is distinctly different from other radiology providers in our area who notify patients with a quick phone call.

Pathology follow-up for 100% of recommended biopsies

Wake Radiology follows up on 100% of our recommended biopsies versus the 10% required by the FDA’s Mammography Quality Standards Act (MQSA). We take multiple steps after each of our biopsy recommendations to ensure appropriate follow-up is performed, including a direct conversation with the patient if necessary. We not only do this for every imaging patient we biopsy ourselves, but we also take the extraordinary step of doing this for all our imaging patients biopsied by local surgeons. This unique comprehensive approach ensures the pathologic diagnosis correlates with the breast imaging findings for every patient seen at Wake Radiology. This time-consuming process helps prevent false negatives due to sampling errors and ensures that our team is continually learning and improving.    

Breast MRI

For certain patients, Breast MRI is a useful adjunct to screening mammography in the detection of breast cancer and a powerful problem solver for diagnostic dilemmas not fully evaluated by mammography and ultrasound. Breast MRI also provides a clear view of the extent of disease for patients with newly diagnosed breast cancer.  

Advanced method for finding and staging breast cancer

At Wake Radiology, we understand the important role Breast MRI plays in creating a cohesive and effective approach to the diagnosis of breast cancer. While mammography remains the gold standard for breast imaging, it does not have the power of MRI. Breast MRI is the most sophisticated imaging method for detecting and staging breast cancer. Unlike standard mammograms that use radiation to create a flat image, Breast MRI uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create sophisticated 3D images that can reveal far more than mammography. With MRI, the differentiation of abnormal or diseased breast tissue from normal tissue is typically better than with X-ray, CT, ultrasound or other imaging modalities.

Breast MRI vs Mammogram

A mammogram typically is used as the first test for breast abnormalities. If a mammogram detects a problem, further specialized mammography and/or ultrasound may be used. If your doctor is still concerned, a Breast MRI is a diagnostic tool that may be considered. Breast MRI has been proven to potentially have value when other tests are inconclusive.

A Breast MRI should never take the place of your annual X-ray mammogram. Even if you have a normal Breast MRI, you should still continue to have an annual mammogram, one of the most effective tools in breast cancer detection.

 

Mammography

Breast MRI

Used For

Screening

Specific breast problems

Radiation

Yes

No

Widely Available

Yes

No

Injection

No

Required

Covered by Insurance

Usually

Usually

 

You cannot undergo MRI if you having any of the following:

  • Pacemaker, unless it’s a Medtronic Revo or Advisa SureScan pacing system
  • Residual pacemaker leads
  • TENS unit or residual wires
  • Defibrillator (AICD)
  • Inner ear implant
  • Internal pump device
  • Brain aneurysm clip
  • Metal in your eyes

The following may affect the scheduling of your breast MRI:

  • Pre-menopause: Must schedule between days 5-14 of cycle.
  • Birth Control Medication: Notify us at scheduling.
  • Chemotherapy: Insurance covers MRI before & after completion of therapy only.
  • Radiation Therapy: (XRT) Must wait for 6 months after the completion date.
  • Lumpectomy: Can be imaged immediately after, before additional therapy.
  • Breast Biopsy: Okay for MRI.
  • Mammograms: Must have the most recent mammogram and report on site on appointment day.

Breast Imaging Center of Excellence

PrintWake Radiology offers breast imaging services at many Triangle locations, and all services are interpreted by board-certified radiologists, many of who are dedicated to breast imaging. All of the offices are accredited by the American College of Radiology and have earned the ACR’s highest recognition as a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence (BICOE).

EASY SCHEDULING

Our scheduling team is available to answer questions about imaging procedures and insurance as well as assist in promptly scheduling your appointment. Contact our team by calling 919-232-4700

CONVENIENT LOCATION

Wake Radiology offers convenient office locations throughout greater Triangle including Raleigh, Cary, Garner, Wake Forest, and Chapel Hill with parking just steps away from check-in. 

INSURANCE

Wake Radiology is a participating provider for most major managed care insurance plans. We provide imaging services and file claims on behalf of all patients, including those with out-of-network insurance plans where a higher cost share may apply. Learn more about insurance.

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